We’ve had such a nice time in the Abacos that we repeatedly asked ourselves whether we wanted to stay for the remainder of our time here or move farther south to the Exumas. On the one hand, we’ve covered a lot of miles over the past six months and it would be nice to stay in one area for a few months. On the other hand, while Jeff continues to do well, we can’t just assume that we’ll be able to come back again in the fall, so perhaps we shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the Exumas. If we went to the Exumas we could finally see our friends on S/V Lone Star, and deliver the chocolate, almond milk, and whey powder that we picked up for them in Lake Worth. But if we stayed we would see them as they passed through the Abacos.
Back and forth, back and forth. We literally would change our mind a few times a day. Every time we decided to stay, we would think that maybe we should go. When we decided to go, we thought it was lovely here so why don’t we stay? Finally I decided to put our dilemma on the Facebook Bahamas Cruising group. The responses were overwhelmingly in favor of going to the Exumas. With the decision made, it was time to start making some tracks south.
After the Junkanoo we spent several days in Marsh Harbor waiting out a front. Then we stayed one additional day waiting for our mifi device to be delivered from My Island Wifi. We have been getting data through T-Mobile on our phones but it has been extremely slow. Nothing we did seemed to help. Photos in the blog post would literally take hours to upload. We had heard only good things about My Island Wifi so we placed our order and picked it up at the Marsh Harbor airport the next day. With that, we were ready to leave. And yes, the difference in speed is like night and day – photo uploads take seconds, and we can actually stream now.
Although the front had passed, as we raised the anchor the conditions were sporty. Leaving the protection of Marsh Harbor we saw wind speeds of over 20 knots, but the winds were forecast to decrease during the day and we knew that we would be turning downwind shortly which would make for a more comfortable ride. Our destination was Snake Cay where we had read it could be difficult to get the anchor to set, but was otherwise a lovely spot with mangroves to explore.
The reviews were correct. Initially we couldn’t get the anchor to bite because the bottom consisted of large areas that were a bit of sand covering stone. I wasn’t sure how we would be able to tell (I assumed we would find out when we tried to back down), but you could actually hear and feel the anchor sliding by putting your hand on the chain. Mystery solved. The second time was a charm, however, and once we were settled in we hopped in the dinghy to explore.
The next day we enjoyed a nice, lazy sail down to Little Harbor. We set up Bob the windvane and kicked back, ghosting along. The harbor in Little Harbor is filled with moorings so we picked one up for $25, marking the first time since leaving Vero Beach that we weren’t at anchor.
Little Harbor made for a very nice stop. It is home to the only working bronze foundry in the Bahamas, and although we had missed the opportunity for a tour, we enjoyed walking through the gallery. Randolph Johnston, a famous sculptor, started the gallery and his sons have continued it, creating sculptures cast in bronze using the lost wax casting method. There was a video showing the process, and we would really like to tour the foundry the next time we visit.
After having a great lunch at Pete’s Pub, a fantastic beach bar and part of the gallery, we took a couple of walking paths to the beach and an abandoned lighthouse.
Little Harbor also has a blue hole and caves that we would like to explore, so we will definitely be making a return visit. In the meantime, we still needed to get to the Exumas.
The next day we were up with the sun to make the 55 nm trip to Eleuthera. Our plan was to anchor at Royal Harbor and then head down to Rock Sound where we could wait out a cold front that would be arriving in a few days. From there we could hop over to the Exumas.
Our trip to Royal Harbor took us over the deepest water we’ve ever sailed in – 14,000 feet. Honestly, I found it a bit unnerving at first until I thought about the fact that you can also drown in a bathtub! The winds were about 10 knots which would have been perfect, but they were too on the nose to sail. We really need the wind angle to be at least 40 degrees off of the bow, and it was generally around 20 degrees throughout the day. It did shift a few times which allowed us to pull out the jib and motor sail for awhile which was nice, but basically we just traded off hand steering throughout the day while enjoying the deep sapphire color of the Atlantic.
Hand steering is tiring so we were glad when we finally dropped the anchor at Royal Harbor. We enjoyed hanging out in the water for awhile (it was already several degrees warmer than in the Abacos), and after looking at the forecast we decided we would relax the next day before moving on. It turned out to be an excellent decision, and not only because we were able to relax!
To be continued.